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     " All in all Mafia is a mediocre gaming experience wrapped around an amazing story. "

      Title: Mafia by Take 2 Interactive

      Format: PS2 gangster-land fun

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: Originally released on the PC back in 2002, Mafia was a hit of epic proportions. A drive and shoot game in the likes of Grand Theft Auto, Mafia big claim to fame was that it brought a stellar story and move-like feel to a genre previously defined by chaotic violence and random quests. Now, two years later, it arrives on the PS2 to an equal amount of fan faire. But will it make the grade? Read on, my monkeys, and find out.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Let's get this out of the way right now: Mafia is a port, with all of the potential negative connotations that carries with it. There are few additions, almost no improvements, and the usual painful teeth cuts. One of those is the graphics. Not only unimproved from the PC version, but obviously suffering from porting-pains, Mafia can be pretty at times but, in general, shows lackluster at best. Suffering from frequent, though not debilitating, framerate issues and decidedly varying rendering for close and distanced objects, the graphics are certainly not one of Mafia's strong suites. 3 out of 5

      Playability: Essentially composed of the expected combination of drive and third person run'n'gun, Mafia has some strong elements and relatively varied missions but in play will be very reminiscent of GTA3 or The Getaway. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing, except where it suffers some of the same flaws as those titles (like awkward auto aiming and some sticking in the controls), and overall you'll enjoy the relatively clean and easy to adapt to play. That being said, there are a few key aspects that makes Mafia less desirable. Mostly this comes from the incredible limitations of the missions. Though still granting you ten to fifteen hours of play, there are none of the roving side quests that made GTA such a venerable title and little to engage you outside of the standard story line. This isn't a horrible thing, though, since the story really is Mafia's creamy filling (more on that in a second) but be warned, if you're looking for another GTA but in vintage threads this ain't it. 3 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Easily the highlight of the Mafia play experience, the story is very reminiscent of The Godfather or Goodfellas and will feel like you're actually playing your way through one of these movies. Gritty, surprisingly cheery, and genuine, the game tells the story of Tommy Angelo, lowly taxi driver who comes up through the ranks of made men and is now spilling it all for protection. A great and riveting yarn, the story is unquestionably the best reason to play Mafia and will give you many hours of pure entertainment. 5 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: The lack of multiplayer and side quests means that you'll play this one the first time through and then no more. Which is more than a bit disappointing, given how dynamic it could have been. 3 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all Mafia is a mediocre gaming experience wrapped around an amazing story. It may not play as well as other games in the genre, and it certainly isn't as pretty, but it goes to prove that a good script will take a game far even when the controls don't.

      The Good: Amazing story

      The Bad: An otherwise completely unremarkable game

      The Overall Ugly: If you've got a weekend to kill, here's what to use to fill it.

      What it's Worth: Rental

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